SUBMARINES don't come any smaller than the C-Cat. It's barely two feet long, weighs only 26lb and should cost less than Pounds 4,000 when it goes on sale in Britain, probably early next year.
'That makes it the first mini-sub ideal for the leisure market - yachting, fishing and scuba-diving,' says Allan Wall, general manager of C-Cat's manufacturers, Underwater Systems Australia.
The C-Cat is unmanned. It is battery-powered, made of plastic, travels at three knots, operates in depths of up to 150ft, and takes colour pictures with a video camera.
'It can be used for identifying fishing areas, inspecting uncharted channels, keeping an eye on divers or simply enjoying the marine life,' says Wall. It could also be used for light industrial tasks such as inspecting fishing nets, marine wrecks and pipework.
The first little yellow submarine has just left the company's factory in Perth, Western Australia. Most of the initial production run of 2,000 is destined for the lucrative American and European markets.
C-Cat (the name stands for closed circuit aquatic television) was developed by Tom Pado, a local submariner. It started life as a scale model of a large remote-controlled vessel for use in deepesea oil-drilling operations but that project collapsed when oil prices slumped. Pado, however, realised there was scope for a smaller vessel.
He was able to sell the idea to the Parry Corporation (which backed this year's attempt by Australian yachtsmen to keep the America's Cup). Parry now has a big share in Underwater Systems Australia, which views C-Cat as the precursor of several larger submarines. Copyright (C) The Sunday Times, 1987
"Innovation: Aquatic 'cat' gets deep sea in its sights." Sunday Times [London, England] 11 Oct. 1987. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 Oct. 2009.
Gale Document Number:CJ117719958
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